Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer located at the end of the digestive tract. More than 200,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed each year. The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 104,270 new cases of colon cancer for 2021. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women.
If you have recently been diagnosed with colon cancer or have concerns that you might be showing colon cancer signs, here are some of the most important details you need to know.
Common Causes and Risk Factors for Colon Cancer
When cells grow out of control in or near the rectum or colon, colon cancer develops. Several risk factors may increase your chances of developing colon cancer. Some of these are out of your control, while others you can do something about. If you can take control of certain risk factors, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
If you have a history of colon cancer diagnoses within your family, you may be more likely to develop colon cancer yourself. Other risk factors could include:
- Certain genetic mutations
- A history of polyps
- A history of inflammatory bowel disease
- A history of type 2 diabetes
- Being fifty years of age or older
These are just a few elements that could increase your risk of developing colon cancer. If you have concerns that you may have symptoms of colon cancer, continue reading.
Potential Colon Cancer Signs
People experience a wide array of symptoms before being diagnosed with colon cancer. You’ll need to undergo several different types of diagnostic testing and screenings in order to obtain an official diagnosis. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of colon cancer that you shouldn’t ignore include:
- Change in bowel movements
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Narrow stools
- Excessive gassiness
Treatment options for colon cancer vary on a case-by-case basis. Where the tumor is located, how big the tumor is, and whether it has metastasized all have an impact on the treatment options available. Chemotherapy, lymph node dissection, and colectomy are the most common recommendations.
How To Cope With a Colon Cancer Diagnosis
If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, or hope to reduce your risk for developing this difficult disease, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that might help.
Reducing the number of processed foods and meats you consume, quitting smoking, increasing your activity levels, and taking preventive medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could all aid in your recovery or help to prevent colon cancer from developing.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and have concerns that you might have colon cancer, you must make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. In the event of an emergency, be sure to call 911.
The more you know about the risk factors for developing colon cancer, and the signs and symptoms associated with a colon cancer diagnosis, the better prepared you’ll be to explore treatment options and beat your diagnosis.